Saturday 24 February 2018

A small start in drive to cut costs

HEALTH Minister James Reilly has delivered some good news -- an unusual experience for himself and for the health service lately. Cuts in the prices of prescription drugs, and improvements in prescription practice, will reduce the cost of these drugs here by €400m a year.

Unfortunately, not all the news is rosy. Owing to the prolonged negotiations between the Health Department, the HSE and the Irish Pharmaceutical Healthcare Association, the saving for the remainder of this year will fall about €50m short of the target, to €16m. This is a tiny figure by comparison with the current cost of drugs in the system, more than €2bn a year.

Elsewhere in the health service, things go on much as normal -- in other words, less than perfectly.

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